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NJ man gets life for murder of woman who was beat, set on fire

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HACKENSACK, N.J. — A man convicted of fatally beating a woman in her home and setting her body on fire has been sentenced to life in prison.

Daniel Rochat was convicted last month on numerous charges, including murder, aggravated arson and desecration of human remains. The counts stem from the September 2012 death of 70-year-old Barbara Vernieri, a real estate agent he had known since he was a child.

Bergen County prosecutors have said the 42-year-old Wood-Ridge man intended to steal Vernieri’s jewelry to pay off an $11,000 debt he owed to a girlfriend. They say he set the fire at her East Rutherford home to cover up the theft.

Rochat’s lawyers say they plan to appeal his conviction.